October, 31, 2012
By Henry Abbott
- In deference to Hurricane Sandy's aftermath and the mayor of New York, the league has postponed Brooklyn's first regular-season home game. Undoubtedly a good and safe call -- the stadium was built where it is because that's where all the subway lines are, and the subways are flooded and closed for the foreseeable future. But you know what I was thinking? The Nets have had a bit of a rough start to their relationship with Brooklyn, what with the houses seized by eminent domain and all. The hard feelings, though, are not with New Yorkers, but with Brooklynites, and specifically those who live right around the arena. How cool would it have been -- how healing, and how amazing an introduction between team and borough -- if the NBA and the Nets had somehow called an audible, and instead of filling the stands with rich people from all over the metro area, instead got those tickets to real Brooklynites, the ones who live right there, within walking distance of the arena and could no doubt use a night out after a hurricane? Kicking off the relationship with an act like that would have been amazing. Impossible, perhaps, for any number of reasons, but amazing.
- Playing Anthony Davis as a small forward has the chance to teach him all kinds of stuff he'll want to know throughout his career. I suggest switching the positions of top young players on bad teams (think Kevin Durant as a shooting guard in Seattle, Russell Westbrook leading the league in turnovers learning point guard in Oklahoma City) comes with another potential benefit: Losses. It can act like a form of tanking. Think about it, if Davis is great as a small forward, fantastic, he has more skill than ever and can play with Ryan Anderson. If he's terrible at it for a while ... well, now's the time to learn, 'cause when you're bad and want to get great the thinking is that the best way to do that is to get several lottery picks on one roster, like the Thunder did. Playing out of position is one way to help that along. I don't know if the Hornets are doing that, nor if it'd work. But I know there are people running NBA teams right now who think that's a good strategy.
- The Lakers' performance has all these wrinkles -- the Princeton offense, integrating Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. But wow: 39 percent from the free throw line as a team. An inevitable uptick there, which requires changing nothing, and it's a whole different game. Rob Mahoney on the Point Forward: "The punchlines in general regarding Brown’s coaching work can wait. He may not be the most creative offensive mind, but he tends to get the most out of limited defensive players and knows not to overburden talented players with structure."
- Delonte West woos his next NBA team on Twitter.
- Nick Collison's imagined post-apocalyptic diary, part 3, from Drawllin: "I came upon a mountain pond two nights ago. I camped there. I lit a fire and pounded out a beat with sticks on empty bean cans and kept the trees company, singing to them my own version of Neil Young’s Helpless as the flames flung shadows on the forest floor. I sing because I need to and sometimes I do feel helpless. It is odd to think, Diary, but a short time ago I was writing a blog for GQ. Me and Jimmy Goldstein, The Model Whisperer, penned some of the same pages. Now I write for the wind. My mind wanders and so do I. I regret not having tried things. I think about if I could have done more. I should have tried harder to get things moving on my screenplay for Kazaam 2: The Collison Collision, starring myself. Perhaps if destiny leads me to the ocean and there are others there I could produce it as a play. Let me dream, Diary. I am all-in these days, Diary. There can be no tiptoeing. I do everything all the way. There are no half measures."
- Jack Hamilton on Ray Allen, writing for the Atlantic: "Ray Allen's character hasn't changed -- what was first a precocious maturity that became a perfectionist professionalism has now become a vaguely unseemly surplus of sensitivity, but it's really the same thing. The same quality that comes off as proud purpose in a 22-year-old might come off as delusional vanity in a 37-year-old, but you don't develop one of the greatest jump shots the world has ever seen without an excessive reserve of both. We're better at talking about that quality when athletes are younger because it looks better, fits more neatly into nebulous concepts like 'hunger' and 'heart,' but at the end of the day it's just one more thing they have that the rest of us don't."
- Amare Stoudemire's "Dude where's my car" moment, courtesy of Sandy.
- Ted Leonsis on how bad team culture can screw up your John Wall, or even your whole franchise.
- Not the first time we've seen people go after James Harden's head.
- When do you expect the Nets to win a title, Mikhail Prokhorov? "In June."
- How have the Pacers played without Danny Granger, who is out indefinitely?
- Unsettled: The Kings' future in Sacramento. Settled: Their lawsuit against the people who made the exercise ball that popped in an accident that injured Francisco Garcia.